If you were asked if sending a text was a life or death situation, would you say yes?
In the split second it can take to text back "OK," an innocent life can be cut short, or drastically changed forever. In Florida, the state already ranked second for the most distracted drivers in the country, texting has become a frequent culprit for causing devastating auto accidents that are claiming the lives of drivers statewide.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a driver who was texting while driving, you may find yourself recovering from extensive injuries with costly medical bills. This life-changing accident can leave a victim unable to return to work, or care for their family. In some cases, a victim never returns home to their family at all.
If you've been injured due to an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a texting and driving accident law firm. At Weinstein Legal, our dedicated attorneys have taken a stand against texting and driving, and are here to help fight for the compensation you deserve.
Florida Texting and Driving Laws
According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans owned a cellphone in 2016, of which 77% were smartphones. Yet, five years earlier, only 35% of Americans had smartphones. In 2018, the number of individuals with smartphones continues to increase. While these devices make daily life easier, they also make activities such as texting, checking emails, and posting on social media a lot more accessible, even when they shouldn't be.
Unfortunately, this ease of accessibility has drivers increasingly turning to their cellphones to text, email, or otherwise be distracted while driving. Therefore, beginning in 2013, Florida law introduced new legislature cracking down on texting and driving.
Known as the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law, found in Section 316.305 Florida Statutes, legislature made it illegal to:
- Operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device.
- Send or read data in such a device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication such as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.
This law applies to cellphones as well as any other handheld device used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, that is designed or intended to receive or transmit text or character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet. While it is not explicitly stated in the law, it is most likely that use of social media and social media messaging such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or WhatsApp while driving would also be illegal, as it entails the same prohibited activities.
Distracted Driving and Negligence
Florida is no stranger to distracted drivers. These types of drivers fall under three categories:
- Visual Distraction: Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual Distraction: Taking your hand(s) off the wheel
- Cognitive Distraction: Taking your mind off of what you’re doing
However, when a driver is using a cellphone while driving, they fall under all three of these categories. Not only does texting require both your eyes and your hands, but it also requires you to momentarily stop paying attention to the road in order to focus on whatever message you're composing or reading.
While texting while driving is already illegal, it is also a form of distracted driving that constitutes as negligence. In personal injury cases, negligence must be proven in order to receive compensation for damages caused by the accident.
Driving requires an individual's full attention. Put in the legal sense, it is a driver's duty to be alert on the road and be able to respond to traffic signals, changes in traffic speed, and unpredictable events, such as a car suddenly braking. Paying attention to an activity other than driving, such as texting, is likely a breach of the duty to use reasonable care while driving, thus making the the individual negligent.
Likewise, if a driver violated a safety statute, such as running a stop sign due to texting and driving, or swerving into another lane due to cellphone use, and the violation caused an accident, the driver would be deemed negligent. If you've recently been injured in an accident in which the at-fault driver was texting while driving, you could have a personal injury case. Fill out the free and confidential case evaluation form on the right of this page to get help from a qualified texting and driving lawyer now.
Types of Texting and Driving Accidents
When a driver is texting and driving they can become completely unaware of their surroundings. Without paying adequate attention to the road, their careless driving can cause a variety of accidents.
Some of the types of auto accidents caused by texting and driving include:
- Rear End Collisions
- Head-On Collisions
- T-Bone Collisions
- Side Swipes
- Parking Lot Accidents
- Turning Accidents
- Failure to Notice Pedestrians
- Failure to Notice Bicyclists
A recent analysis completed by the Sun Sentinel found that of 3 million crashes occurring between the years 2013 and 2016, collisions caused by texting and driving such as those above are increasing at a staggering rate. While the total number of accidents increased by 11% from 2013 to 2016, crashes caused by distracting driving such as texting rose by 26%. Behaviors often leading up to accidents caused by texting and driving include:
- Failing to stay in the proper lane
- Improperly passing another vehicle
- Running a stop sign
- Ignoring road signs or markings
- Sideswiping a car headed in the same direction
Common Injuries in Texting and Driving Crashes
Based on data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 260,043 reported accidents caused by distracted driving in 2016. Of the 2016 distracted driving accidents, 41,706 - nearly 20% - resulted in personal injury.
Even an accident that appears minor can cause injuries.
Some auto accident injuries a person may suffer include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Damage to the spinal cord
- Herniated disc
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Scrapes and cuts
This is not to mention the years of physical and emotional suffering a victim of a texting and driving accident may endure. Likewise, car accident victims are then forced to deal with various financial stressors, from medical bills to loss of work due to physical injuries. In such cases, it is in the victim’s best interest to seek help from a texting and driving accident attorney in Florida with a track record of success.
In the case of an auto accident caused by a driver who was texting and driving, an individual suffering injuries can pursue compensatory damages, also known as monetary damages.
Compensatory damages can include:
- Property damage
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional duress
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Gaining compensation can help ease the burden caused by a distracted driver, and help to provide monetary support for both the victim and their family during this strenuous time.
Helping Secure the Compensation You Deserve
If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a driver texting behind the wheel, it is imperative that you get in touch with a texting and driving accident lawyer as soon as possible. The right texting and driving accident law firm can guide you through the entirety of the personal injury process, and help ease the stress of this tumultuous time.
Contact Weinstein Legal today. With a compassionate staff dedicated to fighting for the compensation of the injured, Weinstein Legal will be available at anytime to take your call.